As a long-time member and former president of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, my goal continues to be the promotion of ethnic and gender diversity in Arizona’s legal practice, which I believe will benefit both our legal practitioners and our citizens.
I have practiced civil litigation across many of Arizona’s courtrooms since 2004. I currently focus primarily on representing individuals who have been injured. For the majority of my clients, this is their first direct experience with the American justice system and being in court. My clients have come from a variety of different economic and ethnic backgrounds over the years.
To this day, however, the demographics within Arizona’s justice system, whether it’s judges, attorneys, arbitrators, or mediators, do not reflect Arizona’s broad demographical diversity. This creates some distance between individual citizens and those responsible for helping them resolve legal problems.
I am honored to help my clients navigate the path to justice, but the Arizona justice system does not yet resemble our diverse community, creating a risk of cultural bias.
For example, to comply with mandatory dispute resolution rules, parties to a lawsuit often agree to private mediation. Parties select from a limited pool of possible mediators, but the pool largely consists of Caucasian males. I have recommended additional qualified mediators who are women or of a different national origin or cultural background, but these individuals are few and far between. As a result, it is extremely rare for parties to agree on an experienced mediator who is female or a person of color.
By continuing to work and contribute to this organization, we can achieve greater diversity in the mediator pool and elsewhere throughout the Arizona legal landscape.
Arizona’s legal community still needs to work on creating more opportunities for inclusion and diversity in our legal practice, but the community is slowly changing for the better. I dedicate much of my free time to attending and supporting Arizona Asian American Bar Association events such as the 23rd Annual Scholarship Awards and Installation Banquet this March 28, 2019.
This event is packed with supporters of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
We encourage all our friends and supporters, regardless of ethnicity, to join our organization and participate in our events. Attending events throughout the year shows your support and shared belief in the goal of increasing diversity in the legal profession.
The more voices who join to support diversity in our legal profession, the closer we will get to a legal community that resembles our state population, understands the unique experiences minorities face, and applies the law more fairly. AMANDA S. CHUA